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A Hallmark Experience and Giveaway

A couple of weeks ago I was given the chance to attend a blogger event at Hallmark’s headquarters in downtown Kansas City. I was honored to be invited in the first place and had so much fun at the event itself! I know this probably won’t surprise you, but I cried while there. Is there some unwritten Hallmark rule that says you must cry at some point during one of their commercials, movies, cards, etc?

Before the event, the bloggers that were invited were asked to submit pictures, videos and stories of a special “Moment Between the Milestones” from our lives. Hallmark said they were going to compile them in someway, and boy did they do an awesome job presenting them! Shortly after we arrived, they showed us a video which is now on YouTube. Watch it – you won’t be disappointed (and warning – it might make you tear up). My “moment” is about 1 minute into it.

I tell you, those Hallmark people are geniuses! How they can take a bunch of short stories from the every day lives of people I don’t even know and make me cry is beyond me.

I also have to show you this fun word cloud they gave me when I arrived…

Isn’t that so cool? They had a program go through recent posts on my blog (I’m guessing the last few months?) and figure out what words were used most often in my posts. Words used a lot are the biggest – funny to me that “Mason” (my brother in law) and “Nick” (my husband) are the same size. It also amuses me to no end that the word “poop” made my word cloud (lower, left hand corner).

We did a few fun little exercises to help us focus on the little moments in life that may not seem special at the time, but actually are. We all got these purple t-shirts that said ___________ Is A Special Occasion. After we all filled in the blank with a sharpie, a mic was passed around the room so that we could share the story behind our word or phrase.

Remember the great chocolate pudding adventure from when the boys were about 14 months old? Who gives chocolate pudding to 3 toddlers?! Why a crazy mom and her sister, of course. For those that don’t remember the tale, or who haven’t been here long enough to even know the story, you can read that post here and you can even watch the video here!

Another of the little exercises we did involved some creative writing on our parts. First, we wrote out (in a semi-creative manner) what our days are like…

Then, we took key words or phrases from that and arranged them on a different piece of paper…

Image Courtesy of Hallmark

Hallmark is currently turning our simple sheets of paper into some sort of piece of wall art. I can’t wait to get it, and I’ll be sure to share a picture when it arrives!

And because I’m never in any pictures, I’ll share this one that was taken by a Hallmark employee… (You can see other pictures from the day, by following this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hallmarkcards/sets/72157627529397301/

Image Courtesy of Hallmark

At the event, they also had a bunch of cards out for us so that we could send some love to some friends or family. Did you know Hallmark has cards out now that include a postage paid envelope? Pretty nifty! And I just loved a couple of the cards they had out…

Ok, so on to the giveaway! When we left the event, Hallmark handed each of us a lovely swag bag. This was my first swag bag situation, and as such I’m going to enjoy using the term! I also want to share some of the swag with you!

Included:

Recordable story book – Guess How Much I Love You

Talking Story Buddy and book – Abigail and the Balance Beam

Your own purple “____ Is A Special Occasion” shirt – Size L

A few of the new postage paid Hallmark cards

Even if you don’t have small children to give the book or story buddy to, I bet you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friends with small children!

In the spirit of Hallmark, I’m going to make you work a bit harder for this one! Here’s how to enter:

* In your comment, share what you would write on the shirt, should you win and then tell us the story behind that!

Winner will be selected at random. Contest is open to US and Canada residents. Winner will be selected on Monday, October 3rd.

Big thanks to the folks at Hallmark for including me at their special event. I now notice the “little things” a little more and am trying harder to appreciate and savor them.

  • September 27, 2011 - 10:31 am

    Hannah - Monday Nights…are a special occasion. My husband is a busy man. Busy with work, school (working on his Master’s Degree) and church. We have some scheduled activity almost every night of the week, much of which revolves around church. We love this, we love our Young Adult group which my hubby leads, we love being involved in the lives of these people, we love pouring our hearts out in service to them, but it’s busy. Fortunately, for most activities our 3 yr old twins can come with us, so we are often together, but on the go go go. However, we have one SACRED night a week…Monday nights. We schedule nothing, have no young people over to our house, do not take phone calls (not even from Grandma, gasp!), do not agree to go on dinner dates with others, etc. This is our special, sacred night for just the four of us. We laugh and play and explore and basically revel in an unscheduled night of togetherness. That’s why in my house Monday Nights are a special occasion and I love every single one of them.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 10:47 am

    edmontonjb - I would write “Sick days are a special occassion” because last year my youngest son wasn’t feeling well quite a bit. I would let him stay home from school and we would spend the day on the couch watching cartoons and cuddling.

    At the beginning of this school year, one day he says “I think tomorrow is going to be a sick day” so I asked if he wasn’t feeling well. He says “No I just like our sick days together.” Turns out, he was feeling fine most days last year, he just liked our special alone time.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 11:13 am

    ashley - i think i would actually say renovating is a special occasion, because my financee is a custom home bulider he works until 8 or 9pm everyday and i work until 6pm and by the time he gets home he is tired and we don’t get to spend much time together (as our days off are different). but when their are days when i am off and he needs help at work, i go with him and not only do i get to spend time with him i also get to see this different side of him, and i am always amazed at his patience and understanding that i don’t know how to do someof the things he does….now i can’t wait until we start buliding our own home.

    i love your blog by the way, you take the most amazing pictures and have the most adorable kids.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 1:37 pm

    molly - It was so good to meet you and hear your special moments!

    I hope to see you again some time and read more about you and your cuties!ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    amy r - cuddling on the couch…..because my little guy is getting more and more indepedent so it doesn’t happen as much as it used to. anytime he wants to cuddle i am right there!ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    Laura - hahahaha! I love how not only is Mason’s name bigger than mine on that word cloud thing, but Poop is bigger than me!!! What the heck? I’m not sure that word cloud thing is right… because I didn’t even see Jackson’s name on there and you definitely use his name often in blogs! haha. nice blog post Helen. Love it. and AWESOME picture of you! You need to use that color more often 🙂ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    Jess G - I would really love to do the recordable book for my god daughter, eeee!

    I think my shirt would have to say Sneakers. my husband and I started running together when we were dating, and one thing we always splurge on is sneakers. We decided if we’re going to run together, and spend quality time together, we need to have the best equipment. We’ve made some bad sneaker choices over the years, bug at least we’re doing it together!ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Lisa - Hug sandwiches are a special occasion. When we tuck our boys in each night (on the nights when I’m not at work) we always sandwich one kid between my husband and myself for a hug sandwich. Our boys (2.5) will now become their own hug sandwich. It’s hard not to smile at how close they are to one another.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2011 - 6:47 pm

    Sarah - Oh my how fun and what an honor. I love that word cloud.

    As for the giveaway…Monster Truck Shows are a special occasion. I love seeing the boys eyes light up when we go.ReplyCancel

  • September 28, 2011 - 8:59 am

    Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom - Naps. Since none of my children take naps anymore, the afternoon when I can curl up and take a nap is indeed a special occasion. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • September 28, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    Shelly Cunningham - Staying at home is a special occasion. I waited years to finally be a stay-at-home-mom and now everyday that I wake up and don’t have to leave is a special day.ReplyCancel

  • September 28, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    Monica - Racing is a special occasion!ReplyCancel

  • September 28, 2011 - 7:17 pm

    Stephanie D. - Date Night is a special occasion, because well date night here is pretty much non-existent due to the fact my husband is working out of state at the moment. So when we do have a date night it is truly treasured.ReplyCancel

  • September 29, 2011 - 10:48 am

    Sara - Sandwiches! No..not the kind you eat, my two daughers love to make Hug Sandwiches, my husband and I are the bread or graham crackers and they are the meat and cheese, peanut butter and jelly or marshmallow and chocolate. Love waking up to them on Saturday mornings wanting to make a hug sandwich!ReplyCancel

  • September 30, 2011 - 10:33 am

    Brenda B - “A quiet bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book Is A Special Occasion”

    Because in the 4 years since my son has been born I think I’ve had one maybe two bubble baths without interruption – let alone enjoy wine or a book in the tub.ReplyCancel

  • September 30, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Stephanie - Crescent rolls 🙂 My grandma makes these AWESOME crescent rolls every Thanksgiving and Christmas and no one can make them the same! I love when it starts to get cold because thats all I can think about!ReplyCancel

  • September 30, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    Renee - I would have to say cupcakes are our special occasion. Sutton is finally starting to share in my love of cooking and baking. So, I have started to let her “help” and she is always asking to bake cupcakes even though she really only wants to lick the frosting! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 1, 2011 - 10:07 am

    Mary Hurt - “Morning Cuddles” are a special occasions! With two very active kids ( ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2) the days of cuddling a baby in the rocking chair are long gone, but on some mornings I’m a lucky mommy and get one or both of them climbing in bed or on the couch, for some much loved cuddle time! I know I will always look back on their childhood and remember the times I could still fit them in my arms or on my lap for those special moments!ReplyCancel

  • October 2, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    chrissy - lunch…is a special occasion. I am always is a hurry to get lunch on the table before I wake my twin girls from their nap and then I sit their and hurry them throughit, once it is served. I caught myself doing this one day and decided to change my behavior, which started with not making the girl’s luch before they woke from nap, but instead dressing them in aprons and making it an activity we could do together. So I get out the quesadilla or grilled cheese or pizza fixins and let them assemble their lunch and then I cook it while they tell me about their dreams or what they want to do for the day or we discuss things, like where does food come from and how to grow a garden, etc. This one act has changed our outine from mundane to magical!ReplyCancel

  • October 3, 2011 - 7:09 am

    Amanda - I would write “Two Boys in a tub” is a special occassion.

    It was June and HOT and my boys (ages 3 and 7) were driving us mad that evening so I suggested a bath in the ‘big tub’ (Jacuzzi tub in my bathroom). They were all for it. After about a half hour my oldest started screaming he wanted out. I came in and asked why. He said the little one had peed in the tub. So I went to get their shampoo and stuff and get them in the shower and out of the pee filled tub. I walked back into the bathroom to find the oldest one standing up at the end of the tub peeing in the water–with the little one waving his hand through the stream of pee!!! Needless to say I laughed long and hard at that one!!!ReplyCancel

  • October 3, 2011 - 7:31 am

    margie - “Starbucks” is a special occasion! Mainly because there are few things I love more than getting a fancy warm drink on a cold fall or winter day, bundled in boots, a scarf and a jacket and shopping (or window shopping) ALONE! Me time 😉 Doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, I take advantage of the quiet!ReplyCancel

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